Kites is an app that helps people discover cool things around them. The idea is that wherever we go, there is always something interesting to discover. For example, I recently discovered that 'Blackfriars is the only train station to have entrances on both sides of the Thames'. It's amazing how much there is to learn about places around you.
Kites started out as a proof of concept for my dissertation, which I later continued to work on in my spare time. I've built Kites completely from scratch, and completely by myself. It uses all the latest native technologies in both Android and iOS, and is truly the height of my technical achievements. The app has been featured in many places across the web and has thousands of users.
For Kites, I've implemented an entire social network, with all the necessary components: news feed, friend-finding, social account linking, commenting, deep-linking, social sharing and lots more! The most technically challenging part of the app was definitely it's location based components, which has become a speciality of mine. For example, the map view explorer on both Android and iOS were very technically challenging and required a lot of optimisation work.
I also put a lot of work into developing the social profiles for Kites. For example, the twitter cards you see when anybody shares a Kite are amazing! During the marketing campaign, I also dusted off my After Effects skills and made a promo video for Kites, which was received very well! I've also worked on an AngularJS web-app for Kites, which I'm hoping to complete and release soon.
A short while after graduating, I met Peter, who introduced me to his idea for improving local democracy. It was a simple app that let's people create and discuss local topics. I really like the idea, and along with Padraic, we started building it.
Soon, we were accepted on to one of London's best accelerators, Bethnal Green Ventures. It was extra nice to accept their investment since they only invest in very promising tech-for-good startups. The programme was six months long and in that time we learnt an insane amount about startups, local democracy (councils and the like), 'soft' skills like social media and, most importantly, quite a few lessons in how to run a business.
The product we built ended up being a web app, which allowed users to create and discuss topics. Local councils then had a super slick dashboard app that let councillors analyse the opinions of their constituents, and send responses to them, meaning normal people get real feedback from the people that represent them! We implemented loads of innovative features to support what seems like a very simple front-end - and keeping it simple was a task in itself!
We no longer work on voXup full-time, but it is still up and running and we still have paying customers enjoying the services voXup provides :)
To see what people are discussing in your neighborhood, head to www.voxup.co.uk and enter your postcode!
In 2012, I worked in the YouTube Mobile team at Google. Whilst there, I worked a bit on the YouTube for Android mobile app (one of the most downloaded apps in the world!), and two other projects...
My first project was working alongside two others on the YouTube Android Player API. This is an Android API that allows thrid party developers to natively embed YouTube videos in their own apps; it's pretty sweet! I helped develop the 'quickfire' parts of the API, such as the Standalone Player and the Intents that allow native deep-linking to the YouTube app. (You can see a video of my mentor, Ross, talking about the API below.)
I also worked on a brand new project as the sole developer, with a designer alongside me. Whilst the details of the app are still under wraps, the core functionality was later extracted and developed into YouTube Kids. The app involved LOTS of cutting-edge design implementations, meaning I had to implement lots of custom Android views (a skill which has proven very useful since).
Working at Google was an amazing experience that taught me so much; my programming and architectural ability was always being improved by the rigorous code reviews, and amazing weekly feedback from my team on my general performance! I got to work alongside insanely smart people, who were always keeping me on my toes, and got to work with really inspiring internal tools.
After graduating, while I wanted to go and work for some cool startup, I was approached to do a contract job with a large British company, Advanced Computer Software Plc, to help them speed up development of an Android app they were working on. The corporate-ness of the project seemed very much out of my comfort zone, so I agreed 😁.
I worked with the offshore team to develop an Android application to be used by health-care workers in the UK. It involved some pretty cool visual work (more custom views, yay!) and quite a bit of technical work, like wrestling with NFC cards and encrypting the storage.
I ended up working with ACS for 6 months, and really enjoyed the experience. This was my first shoot at being the intermediary between an offshore team and an on-shore client, and I managed it very well.
Towards the end of the project, I also developed a proof-of-concept in iOS, which was super interesting as it made me realise I can be a real asset in my career going forward, being I was fluent in both Android and iOS and able switch between them at will.
During my second year summer holiday, I did a 3 month internship at McLaren Racing in Surrey. Whilst there, I developed a fronted for the engineers to configure the engine control unit. It was a fun project because I got to learn C# whilst on the the job. I also got to learn VB6, because the previous version of the software was written in this, by non other than they mighty Paddy Lowe.
It was also my first exposure to things like Scrum, Agile and Kanban, and was the first time I 'properly' worked in a software development team, which was awesome! I also got my first experience fully unit-testing a production application.
Oh yeah, and the office was amazing!
In early 2015 I met Michael, who told me about a restaurant he knew that would love to have an app that allowed people to order food from their table. This sounded like an awesome idea to me, so one weekend we sat down and I banged out an MVP to get up and running; and so Entrée was born.
In the next week, I re-designed and continued refining the MVP and built a CMS for restaurants to be able to manage their content, and the app was ready! Unfortunately, at the last minute, the restaurant we partnered with pulled out.
Since then, we've been working hard to sign up a number of new restaurants, and are progressing well. If you happen to own/know of a restaurant that would be willing to try something like this, I'd love to hear from you!
You can download it for iOS now, and visit one of our partner restaurants to see just how awesome an experience it really is.
Postnote is a fun little app that I built with Yele. It's a kind of mix between Reddit, Product Hunt and Twitter. The idea is to share and reward great snippets of content; a funny picture, an inspiring tweet or even just a random thought you have.
For Postnote, I implemented the whole frontend - a native Swift iOS app - and all of the backend, including my own push notifications system. I also made a landing page for the app. Yele made my life super easy by giving me exactly the resources I needed, spotting all the UI mistakes (he's got an amazing eye for detail) and finding all the bugs; and not to mention, inviting me to work on it in the first place, since it was all his idea 😋.
Scopie is a really simple app. It does one thing: Scopie shows an icon in your mac's menu bar, which, when clicked, displays a popup showing what your mac's front camera can see, i.e. it acts like a mirror. You can then click anywhere on the screen to dismiss the popup. That's it.
I built Scopie because I found myself constantly opening 'Photo Booth' on my app - the only app I know that immediately opens a window with my camera output. It was a hassle to constantly open and close this app, so I know save myself what adds up to minutes everyday!
Scopie is my first ever Mac application, and is written entirely in Swift. In total, I spent one evening on the app, and another evening on the website and branding (including things like twitter cards for the website), which I did all by myself and am absolutely in love with 😍
I'd love for you to download it, from the Mac App Store.
Mozi is an app that aims to solve a very real problem; At university, my friends and I met up whenever and wherever we wanted. After uni, this became much more difficult; everyone had other responsibilities and shit to get on with. Mozi tries to fix this.
I was invited to work on Mozi by my friend Anish, who was working with Elston (the project leader, designer and a new-ish Android developer), Isaac (the creative) and Tarun (the operations type guy). They needed help because they didn't any experience with Android, and they wanted to get things done fast.
The key feature of Mozi is the innovative time wheel, which lets people choose times they are free in a very simple way. Elston designed it, and I implemented it as a completely custom native view for Android 😛.
It's also got other cool features like push notifications, in-app chat and even more custom views, all built in-house.
I then transitioned to the iOS version of it and built the entire app from scratch (after a failed attempt to have it developed off-shore), and Elston has since taken over the Android development.
After working on Mozi for over a year, we decided to make a 'snapchat' version of the app. A version where people can create plans with just a few taps, and no supplementary features like chat and seeing each other's plans and what not. People could only send plans to individuals. This was a great experience in deciding what features an MVP needs; it was tough to cut things!
Elston mocked up the app and made the Android version. Once this was up and running, Elston sent me the designs and I took a couple of days to write the iOS app. Together was the first app I wrote in native Swift code.
We even went out one day in London and held up these big signs and handed out loads of cool little cards, encouraging people to reconnect with long lost friends. It wasn't that successful but it was pretty fun!
Lokey is my final year project (Computing, Imperial College 2013). It's an Android app (really a platform within an app) that uses machine learning, signal processing algorithms and a bunch of other really cool technologies to learn everything it can about a users movement and travel habits; in a totally non-creepy way, of course!
Also, since this was back in the day when Android's location APIs really, really sucked, I decided to make my own. I implemented things like geo-fencing and activity monitoring completely from scratch. When Google later fixed their own implementation, they used techniques similar to the ones I had created from scratch 😎.
The super cool part of this was that Lokey then made all it's knowledge available to other apps via it's proprietary API, the likes of which I've never seen implemented in an Android app before or since. I used Android's built in inter-process RPC system to enable authentication and communication between apps in a REST-like manner.. and it worked really well.
If you wanna check out my write-up, it's here. You'll no doubt be glad to hear I got a pretty high 1st class honours for it :)